Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter is responding to complaints out of Azle, Texas, after he and other officials declined to answer questions about the link between earthquakes and nearby oil and gas exploration at a town hall meeting Thursday.

In a statement released Friday, Porter says he understands why residents are concerned.

“Although I was troubled to hear what these residents have been and are experiencing, I believe it is important to listen to their accounts first-hand to better understand their concerns. My goal was to reassure residents that their concerns are not falling on deaf ears and that the Railroad Commission is engaged and involved in gathering more evidence and data. We had over 800 folks come out, and in order to hear from as many people as possible, we were unable to take individual questions or give detailed answers to everyone present.”

The commission is facing criticism after a spate of recent, low-level earthquakes in areas near where hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, are taking place. Recent studies by Cliff Frohlich of the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas suggest the quakes are caused by the wastewater deposited deep in the ground after it’s used to extract oil and gas. Frohlich’s study says the water makes it easier for existing faults to slip, leading to man-made earthquakes.

The U.S. Geological Survey has also suggested a link between disposal wells and earthquakes, noting that seismic activity has increased in some areas where wastewater is injected deep underground.

The Railroad Commission hasn’t acknowledged the link, but Porter says some research is in the works. Porter’s office says he’s been in communication with the state geologist about a possible study by the Bureau of Economic Geology. The commission is also in talks with the Environmental Protection Agency and other state agencies.